Hope Hill Elementary Needs Your Help

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 1.32.55 PMPassing this along from Inman Middle School PTA Co-Presidents Regina Brewer and Alex Coffman…

Our neighborhoods are very fortunate to be home to some of the best schools in the state of Georgia. Grady Cluster schools are high performing and richly diverse which enhances the children’s education experience. Hope Hill Elementary School is one of the feeder schools to Inman Middle and Grady High.  Hope Hill is making incredible progress under the dynamic leadership of Principal Maureen Wheeler but it still faces many challenges for a school comprised of a student population of over 85% eligible for free and reduced lunch.

Inman Middle PTA is reaching out to the community to ask for assistance and mentoring for this school. Angela Lewis, Hope Hill and Inman Middle parent, provided us with a list of needs.  Please reach out to her at angela.dhati@gmail.com and help these wonderful kids to achieve success.

  • Functionality and Beautification
    • Redoing the foyer with a fresh idea and welcome, academic atmosphere
      • There are three trophy cases that need something nice displayed and a bulletin board that needs a welcoming display.
    • Photography–we need some candid shots of students and activities and put in frames around the school (black and white).
    • Need a flag for the flagpole
    • Need mini blinds for all classrooms and cafeteria replaced (they are very old and many don’t work)
    • Teacher workroom needs a facelift.
    • Need new planters in front of building.
  • Interaction with the Students
    • Need 3 volunteers on each of the following days: Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 1030-1230 in the cafeteria helping with the monitoring, the line movement, efficiency and cleanup
    • Tutoring children—Wednesday 2:45-3:45pm every week. If interested, please email John Child, our parent liaison at jc@mentalfitnessatl.org
    •  We are interested in providing after school clubs to our students and would welcome ideas and support.
  • Programs
    • Fall Festival, Friday Oct 17, 5-730pm
      • Need tons of volunteers and stations for games—we currently don’t have game, popcorn, rides, cotton candy stations, etc.
    • Career Day, April 24th, all day
    • Field Day, May 15th, 9-1pm
  • Financially
    • PTA has about $800 in the bank. Financial support could provide supplies to teachers and students and provide programs to our children.
  • Support
    • JOIN THE PTA
      • It is only $5 per person!
    • Provide dinner for one of the PTA meetings, once a month on Thursday.
      • We need Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar, April and May; usually the 2nd Thursday of the month
    • Provide food for Terrific Thursdays, once a month
      • We use this to appreciate our teachers and encourage them with a free lunch

Education Update: April 1, 2013

Inman Middle School

By: Nicole Foerschler Horn

There are several changes being proposed as well as updates for schools within the Grady Cluster. Following is a summary:

Significant Changes Proposed for Springdale Park Elementary (SPARK)

Ending Spark’s Extended Day

SPARK is one of a handful of schools with 30 minutes of additional instructional time. APS is considering ending extended day for SPARK. The Spark Parent Teacher Organization opposes this change for several reasons, including the potential impact it would have on recess, concerns about teachers’ planning time, and the extra time needed for SPARK students to transition between multiple buildings on campus.

Cutting Early Intervention Program (EIP) Teachers From 5 to 1

APS has announced it’s changing how schools will be allocated teachers for the Early Intervention Program (EIP), which will result in Spark losing 4 of its current 5 EIP teachers. The EIP teachers help students keep pace with the academic rigor of SPARK. There are more than 80 students currently served by EIP teachers and this population (as with SPARK’s overall population) is expected to increase next year. Without these teachers, SPARK will have a large community of children who will receive diminished academic support in the coming year. The SPARK PTO believes that cutting 4 of the 5 EIP teachers will have serious consequences for all of SPARK’s students.

If you have concerns or questions about the above topics, please email Superintendent Davis at ebdavis@atlanta.k12.ga.us; Karen Waldon, the Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at kwaldon@atlanta.k12.ga.us; Cecily Harsch-Kinnane, Board of Education at chkinnane@atlanta.k12.ga.us; and David White, East Regional K-12 Executive Director at dwhite@atlanta.k12.ga.us.

Davis Seeks Input on Inman Middle School Overcrowding

APS is seeking public input on Inman overcrowding through the end of April 2013. Superintendent Erroll Davis advised the Grady Cluster community that trailers will remain at Inman to provide additional classroom capacity needed for the 2013-2014 school year. APS has asked for public input on the Inman overcrowding situation. Comments and suggestions should be emailed before the end of April to InmanComments@atlanta.k12.ga.us. For additional information on the Inman capacity issue see http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/21525472/aps-seeks-public-input-to-fix-overcrowding-at-inman-middle-school.

Inman Principal’s Coffee on Safety and Transportation

April 2, 2013; 6:00 PM; Inman Media Center

Please join Ms. Herrema for the next Principal’s Coffee. This month’s session will be held Tuesday April 2 from 6-7 PM to accommodate those that cannot attend the morning sessions. Topics to be discussed include safety and transportation. Elementary school parents from the cluster are welcome to attend.

Changes Across the Cluster: School Start Times

APS announced it is considering changing the start times for schools. APS said its goal for the new start times is to improve student safety, on time arrival, and avoid the purchase of 50 new buses. The proposed changes are:

Current Proposed New
Springdale Park Start time 8:00 am, Dismissal at 3:00 pm (this includes extended day) Start time 7:45 am (with bus drop off from 7:00 – 7:15 am), Dismissal 2:15 pm
Inman Start time 8:45 am, Dismissal at 3:45 pm Start time 9:05 am (with bus drop off from 8:35 – 8:50 am), Dismissal 4:05 pm
Grady Start time 8:15 am, Dismissal at 3:15 pm Start time 8:30 am (with bus drop off from 8:00 – 8:15 am), Dismissal 3:30 pm

The Springdale Park PTO and Local School Council (LSC) wrote a joint letter to APS in opposition of the new start times for SPARK. The PTO and LSC are concerned that children would begin to be picked up around 6:50 am, at which time it is still dark outside for most of the school year. The organizations are also concerned this earlier start time (and bus pick up time) will cause more parents to drive their children to school, which will create additional traffic problems on Briarcliff.

The Inman and Grady PTAs and LSCs have not taken a position on the earlier start times for their respective schools.

If you have concerns or questions about the earlier start time, please email John Lyles at jlyles@atlantapublicschools.us.

Springdale Park Registration for 2013-14

Registration for the 2013-14 school year will be held April 1 – April 4 from 5:00 – 7:00  pm in the school cafeteria. APS allocates resources to schools based on enrollment so it is imperative that the school has accurate counts of who will be attending.

Suggested evenings to register are:

If your last name begins with A – H: April 1; I – P: April 2; Q – Z: April 3; any/all last names: April 4.

Again, these are suggested times only so please come when your schedule allows. Additionally, a notary will be available all evenings for a $2 fee per stamp.

Please park at 803 Briarcliff Road or 1246 Ponce de Leon Avenue or legal street parking – do not park next door at the Druid Hills United Methodist Church.

If you have any questions, contact Mary Stouffer at mrs30306@bellsouth.net.

Education Committee Update: March 1, 2013

APS Board to Vote on Proposed 2013 Calendar on March 4

The Atlanta Public Schools’ Board will vote on the proposed 2013-14 school calendar at its Monday March 4 meeting. The meeting will start at 2 PM and will be held at the APS Administrative Building at 130 Trinity Avenue, SW.

Under the proposed calendar, school will begin on August 5, 2012 and end on May 23, 2013. Here is a link to the proposed calendar: https://docs.google.com/a/jmhconsulting.com/file/d/0B378-nEOL4TuTm5qUGdzY2NMWlE/edit?usp=sharing

Monday’s meeting will include two opportunities for in-person public comment. Community members may sign up at least one hour prior to the beginning of the Committee of the Whole meeting to address the board regarding a specific action item on the agenda. Community members may address the board on any topic at the regular community meeting by signing up between 5 and 5:50 PM or by calling Dr. Howard Grant’s office at 404-802-2200 one hour prior to the meeting.

Pre-K Lottery Application Process Begins Next Week

The 2013 Pre-K lottery application process will begin next week and you can submit your application each Wednesday in March. Go to the APS website to learn more:

http://www.atlanta.k12.ga.us/Page/982

For the upcoming year, there is a pre-K program in the Grady cluster at Hope-Hill Elementary. If you are interested in APS pre-K program, please visit the website to learn more.

Grady High Students Earn Advanced Placement Awards

The Virginia-Highland – Druid Hills Patch is reporting that 77 Grady High School students have earned AP scholar awards in recognition of exceptional achievement on the College Board’s Advanced Placement exams.

Highlights include:

  • 5 students qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average score of 4 or higher on a five-point scale on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.
  • 28 students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.
  • 20 students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.
  • 29 students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP Exams with scores of 3 or higher.

Click here to read the full Patch article.

Grady High School Ranked #1 in City of Atlanta for SAT Scores

If you’re looking for another reason to feel good about living in a place where you can send your kids to Grady High, you’ve got one.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle announced today that its Education Guide, which comes out later this week, ranks Grady as tops in the city of Atlanta for students’ SAT scores. Click here to read today’s announcement.

Kudos to the students and teachers at #1-ranked Henry Grady High School!

APS Proposes Adjusted School Day Start and End Times for 2013-14

VHCA education committee chair Nicole Foerschler Horn says if you didn’t have a chance to attend the CINS meeting last night at Grady High School, the Midtown Patch has a great summary that’s well worth the read. APS is talking about new security measures for our schools as well as changes to the school day schedule. Here’s a link to the article: http://midtown.patch.com/articles/aps.

Education Committee Update: January 2, 2013

By: Nicole Foerschler Horn

Grady Debate Tournament, Traffic and Volunteering

Grady’s debate team The Jesters is getting ready to host their big debate tournament of the year, “The Quest for the Dream” regional tournament on January 11th and 12thThis tournament enhances the prestige of the Grady High School speech and debate team and is a major fundraiser for The Jesters.

What does the tournament mean for Virginia-Highland? The tournament is held at both Grady High School and Inman Middle School, using hundreds of classrooms and common facilities at both schools. Tournament preparation begins at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, January 11. First rounds of the tournament start at 5:00 p.m. and conclude by around 10:00 p.m. Friday.  The tournament resumes on Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m. (with preparation starting at 6:30 a.m.) and lasts until about 9:00 p.m.

According to Grady, 500 debaters and 150 judges from Georgia and nearby states will participate in the tournament. The entire debate team and many parent and community volunteers will also participate. Expect heavier than normal vehicular and pedestrian traffic and overflowing parking lots at each school.

This is an amazing event for the Grady Jesters and a wonderful opportunity for students from across the country to experience the unique beauty of our neighborhoods and schools. If you’d like to volunteer to help with the tournament, contact Janet Kishbaugh at janetkishbaugh@gmail.com.

Books for SPARK Kids

If you have gently used books, appropriate for children in grades K-5 (especially 3-5), please consider donating them to Springdale Park Elementary. SPARK keeps several shelves of books in the cafeteria which students can enjoy each day during their lunch period. We are in need of a few more books, particularly for our older children. Both fiction and non-fiction books are needed. You can drop off any books you care to donate at the SPARK front office.

Grady Knights of Sound Pure Essence Dancers Win Gold

Congratulations to the Grady Knights of Sound Pure Essence Dancers for winning a trophy in the Gold category on November 11 in the Battle of Dance Line competition at the Georgia World Congress Center. The competition between Atlanta-area high schools judges stand routine, attire, technique, choreography and dance routine.

The Southerner – High School Journalism Hall of Fame

The staffs of the Grady publications and broadcast programs traveled to San Antonio November 15 – 18 to attend the National Scholastic Press Association’s (NSPA) fall convention. The Southerner was inducted into the NSPA Hall of Fame for receiving All-American ratings for 10 of the past 11 years. Additionally, the Southerner received its eight Pacemaker Award, widely considered the Pulitzer Price of high school journalism.

College & Career Connection Spotlighted

The Atlanta Intown newspaper featured the College & Career Connection  (CCC) in its December edition. It’s a great article on the history of the CCC and how the organization seeks to help all students at Grady High School. Check it out at www.atlantaintownpaper.com, page 39, for.

Grady Book Club

Join the Grady Book Club for discussions of recent and classic books. Meetings are on the third Monday of each month at 6:15 p.m. in the homes of members. See the Gradygram for meeting locations, or contact gradywritingcenter@gmail.com. Upcoming meeting include:

• January 21 – Everybody Was So Young:  Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story by Amanda Vaill

• February 18 – The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

 

CINS (Council of Intown Neighborhoods and Schools)

Upcoming CINS (Council of Intown Neighborhoods and Schools) Meetings

What: APS’ Human Resources – Hiring, Staffing, Leveling and Professional Development

When: December 12, 2012 – Noon

Where: Springdale Park Elementary School, 1246 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30306

What: 2013 Legislative Agenda for Education

When: January 16, 2013 – 7:00 pm

Where: Centennial Place Elementary School, 531 Luckie Street, Atlanta, GA 30313

Education Committee Update: December 2, 2012

By: Nicole Foerschler Horn

Register Now for the Inman Frosty 5K!

Inman’s annual fun run is Saturday, Dec. 8 at 10 AM. Sprinters, runners, joggers, and walkers are all welcome both for the race and the after-race festivities. You can do it!  Register now at www.InmanFrosty5K.com. Students can enter the password “eagles” to register for only $10.

Springdale Park Elementary School Prospective Student Parent Tour

Parents of prospective students are invited to learn more about Springdale Park Elementary School. The tour will be held on Wednesday, December 4th at 1 PM. If you are interested in attending, please contact Jeanine Rousso at jrousso@atlanta.k12.ga.us.

Principal Evaluation Survey

APS is conducting an evaluation survey for each of its principals. To take the survey through the Internet, you must first opt in by filling out an online form that requests your name, school, e-mail address, and identification as parent or community member. A link to the survey will then be sent to you by e-mail, though not immediately.  If you do not receive the link within 24 hours of completing the opt-in form, contact Deandra Crumpler, 404.802.2711 or dcrumpler@atlanta.k12.ga.us. You may also fill out a survey for a school in your community, even if you do not currently have a child at the school, but you may have to opt in on separate days. Paper copies of the survey are also available in the front office and should be returned to the front office. To get started, go to Principal Survey Opt In. For more info, go to Flyer on Principal Survey

Upcoming CINS (Council of Intown Neighborhoods and Schools) Meetings

What: APS’ Human Resources – Hiring, Staffing, Leveling and Professional Development

When: December 12, 2012 – Noon

Where: Springdale Park Elementary School, 1246 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30306

What: 2013 Legislative Agenda for Education

When: January 16, 2013 – 7:00 pm

Where: Centennial Place Elementary School, 531 Luckie Street, Atlanta, GA 30313

Education Committee Update: November 19, 2012

By: Nicole Foerschler Horn

Inman Recognized as a “Highest Performing” Title 1 School

Inman Middle School is among the top 5% of Title I schools in the State of Georgia according to the Georgia Department of Labor. Inman Middle School is also one of only two schools in Atlanta Public Schools with the Highest-Performing School distinction.

Register Now for the Inman Frosty 5K!

Inman’s annual fun run is Saturday, Dec. 8 at 10 AM. Sprinters, runners, joggers, and walkers are all welcome both for the race and the after-race festivities. You can do it!  Register now at http://inmanfrosty5k.blogspot.com/. Students can enter the password “eagles” to register for only $10.

Springdale Park Elementary School Prospective Student Parent Tour

Parents of prospective students are invited to learn more about Springdale Park Elementary School. The tour will be held on Wednesday, December 4th at 1 p.m. If you are interested in attending, please contact Jeanine Rousso at jrousso@atlanta.k12.ga.us.

Inman Transition Meeting for Parents of Rising 6th Graders

Inman will be hosting a series of meetings for parents and students of rising 6th graders. The first meeting will be on November 29th at 7 p.m. in the media center at Inman. This is a meeting for parents only.

Also, parents of rising 6th graders, zoned for Inman Middle School, should have received in the mail the 2012-2013 Inman “Transition In” material. Included in that material is a special welcome from Ms. Herrema, this year’s “Transition In” schedule, a list of documents required for registration and other important information just for rising 6th grade families. If you live in an area zoned to attend Inman Middle School and have not received your transition mailing, please contact Inman’s 6th Grade Counselor, Ms. Tina Blevins, at tblevins2@atlanta.k12.ga.us or 404.802.3215. Parents of all 5th grade students zoned to Inman, but who are not currently enrolled in one of Inman’s feeder elementary schools listed above, should also contact Ms. Blevins if they plan to attend Inman next year so that you can receive future in-zone mailings.

Grady 101 – For Parents

Thursday, November 29, 2012, beginning at 8:00 a.m. in the Inman auditorium, Inman will host for parents the first of three “Grady 101″ presentations. This presentation is titled “Program of Study” and the presenters will be Grady staff members Ms. Blankenship, Lead Counselor; Ms. MacBrien, Transition Liaison; and Ms. Sabb, AP Coordinator/Instructional Coach. In addition, forms relevant to the presentation and a FAQ document will be distributed. The second presentation, “Student Support,” is scheduled to take place in January, and the third, focusing on clubs, teams and other aspects of student life at Grady, will be held in March. While there will not be a formal Q&A session as part of the presentation, questions can be submitted to Grady101series@gmail.com.  A response will be sent to all emails. The presentation will be recorded and posted on both Grady’s and Inman’s websites. In addition, the forms distributed, including the FAQ, will be posted on both websites. Finally, a list of Grady parents willing to discuss their experience(s) at Grady will be distributed.

SPARK Teacher Wins Atlanta Families’ Award for Excellence in Education

Brittany Beaumont, a first grade teacher at SPARK, was one of eight educators in Atlanta honored with the Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education.

Superintendent Erroll Davis, Atlanta Falcons football players and Homer, the Braves mascot, were among those who surprised teachers in their classrooms with the news that each would receive a $7,500 grant. Each award includes $3,500 for a school project of the winner’s choice, $1,500 for a professional development opportunity to boost the educator’s effectiveness and a personal stipend of $2,500.

The award is designed to retain excellent teachers and school leaders, inspire other educators, and raise public awareness about the work of high-performing educators. Since 2005, Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education has recognized outstanding teachers and school leaders for their commitment to excellence.

The aim of Ms. Beaumont’s project is to build strong foundational writing skills in students and give them the tools they will need to be lifelong writers. Through the implementation of this project, a writing culture will be established in the classroom that integrates writing skills into all subject areas. Students will be provided with needed resources and challenged to apply a variety of skills and strategies that will increase the quality and effectiveness of their writing. They will also make use of technology resources as they work to digitally publish their writing. The project will culminate with a writing festival where students will celebrate the art of writing and will showcase their best work to invitees: parents, administrators, community members, and local authors

“I’m so thrilled to have been selected as an AFAEE winner,” Ms. Beaumont says. “I’m really looking forward to implementing my writing initiative project and helping my students to become writers for life. I also look forward to sharing my experiences and resources with other teachers and students.”

The organization has raised more than $1 million for the awards program. For more information or to nominate a teacher for the 2013 awards, visit www.atlantafamilies.org.

Principal Evaluation Survey

APS is conducting an evaluation survey for each of its principals. To take the survey via the Internet, you must first opt in by filling out an online form that requests your name, school, e-mail address, and identification as parent or community member. A link to the survey will then be sent to you by e-mail, though not immediately. If you do not receive the link within 24 hours of completing the opt-in form, contact Deandra Crumpler, 404.802.2711 ordcrumpler@atlanta.k12.ga.us.  You may also fill out a survey for a school in your community, even if you do not currently have a child at the school, but you may have to opt in on separate days.  Paper copies of the survey are also available in the front office and should be returned to the front office. To get started, go to Principal Survey Opt In. For more info, go to Flyer on Principal Survey

Education Committee Update

By: Nicole Foerschler Horn

Morningside Town Hall Meeting with APS Executives Set For November 14

John O’ Connor, APS Assistant Superintendent for Student Services and Vickie Cleveland, Executive Director for Special Education, will be on hand for a town hall meeting to be held Wednesday November 14th at 8:30 am in the Morningside Elementary Media Center. The event is open to all families in the Grady Cluster.

The Office of Student Programs and Services (OSPS) is composed of the following units: Department of Special Education - Counseling Services – Nursing Services – Psychological Services – Parent Involvement Program – Social Work Services – Homeless Education – Truancy Intervention – Student Support Team – Student Placement – Student Tribunal and Alternative Placement – Student Records.

Your are invited to come and learn about the Office of Student Programs and Services which provides comprehensive, collaborative and coordinated services to students, staff, parents and communities. OSPS ensures that all efforts focus on student success and the goals central to APS’ strategic plan. Additionally, OSPS supports acquisition of the skills essential to academic achievement, career and educational decision-making, and personal/social development. These programs are fundamental to providing wrap-around services.

Furthermore, the Office of Student Programs and Services develops and coordinates early intervention strategies to ensure that curriculum, instruction and behavioral practices best meet the educational needs of all students; provides parenting education opportunities; enhances family-school partnerships; develops community outreach; and establishes partnerships with businesses and human services agencies.

Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to the Special Education Committee Chairs, Michelle Constantinides at michelle.constantinides@gmail.com or Kim Martin at kcmartin6@comcast.net.

Support SPARK’s All-Star Book Fair

Springdale Park Elementary’s ALL-STAR BOOK FAIR continues online until November 10th. Buy books as holiday presents, to enhance your child’s library, or to donate to your favorite teacher’s classroom. This is a great way to support our neighborhood elementary school because a portion of the proceeds goes back to SPARK.

Visit http://onlinebookfairs.scholastic.com/default.aspx?f=3032128 to shop until November 10th. If you do not have a student at SPARK, please put VHCA in the “Classroom Teacher” box during the checkout process. All books are shipped to SPARK and we will deliver the books to your home.

Books will be shipped within three days of the close of the online fair.

Questions?  Contact Lynne Kushner at lynnek@me.com.

SPARK Teacher Wins Outstanding Educator of the Year Award

Click here to read a great story on Patch about Brittany Beaumont, a first grade teacher at Springdale Park Elementary who was one of eight educators honored recently with an Atlanta Families’ Award for Excellence in Education.

Inman Middle School Named One of State’s Top Performing Title 1 Schools

Click here to read an AJC.com story about Inman Middle School being one of 46 metro Atlanta schools named to the state’s list of top performing Title 1 schools.

Forum Scheduled to Discuss Georgia Charter School Amendment

Do you know how you’ll vote on the Georgia charter school amendment?

This November, you will be asked whether the state of Georgia should be allowed to authorize new charter schools (as opposed to school districts only). The AJC’s latest poll shows voters are split, and people on both sides of the issue agree this vote will determine the path of K-12 education reform in Georgia for years to come.

You are invited to attend a public forum with prominent speakers on both sides of the debate, to learn more about the issue. The forum will be held Monday, October 22, 6:00 p.m. at the Inman Middle School auditorium.

Young Professionals for Education Equity (YPEE) and Teach For America are co-sponsoring this nonpartisan event. Amir Farokhi of GeorgiaForward will moderate the discussion.

Panel speakers include:

Jason Carter, Georgia State Senator

Mike Dudgeon, Georgia State Representative

Herb Garrett, Executive Director, Georgia School Superintendents Association

Mark Peevy, Executive Director, Georgia Charter Schools Commission

Click here to read an October 12 AJC article on this topic.

Voice – August 2012 – The VH/Morningside Parent Association: A Valuable Community Resource

The Virginia-Highland Morningside Parent Association (VHMPA) provides a link between the parents of these respective neighborhoods for the sharing of parental interests and concerns and to provide information, activities and support that enhance the members’ child-rearing efforts. The VHMPA communicates to its membership by publishing a monthly newsletter and operates an email network to facilitate information sharing among members. Currently, the VHMPA has more than 900  members.

Among the many VHMPA services are:

  • supports local events with volunteers;
  • provides a sales platform for household goods and other items;
  • facilitates the exchange of information on community services and resources;
  • organizes social events;
  • partners with local businesses (restaurants, etc.);
  • financially supports local schools;
  • organizes playgroups;
  • serves as a neighborhood security exchange.

Participation in the VHMPA requires residence in the Virginia-Highland or Morningside/Lenox Park neighborhoods. Dues for participation are $20 annually. For further information go to www.vhmpa.com.

Voice — June 2012 — Join the new VHCA Education Committee

The VHCA Board is looking for nominations for the newly formed Education Committee. Members of this committee will be a voice for the neighborhood as they work to strengthen our community’s public schools and collaborate with other neighborhoods across the Grady cluster. The committee will consist of 7 voting members, one of which will be a current VHCA board member. The committee will meet on a monthly basis unless otherwise deemed necessary. All meetings will be open to the public. All recommendations from the committee must be approved by the board of directors. Committee members will be recommended to the board by a nominating committee. If you are interested in becoming a member, please send a letter by June 11th, explaining why you would like to be a member of the committee, to education@vahi.org.

Voice – Summer 2012

Last edition of the Voice (print edition) published!
Download PDF (6.1 MB)

- It’s festival time! Summerfest 2012
- New Highland Park construction to begin soon
- Reflections on redistricting, by Nicole Foerschler-Horn
- Dr. Leila Denmark, by Lola Carlisle, Karri Hobson Pape and Judy Potter
- Graffiti in Virginia-Highland
- Planning for the 2012 VaHi Tour of Homes is underway, by Jack White and Lola Carlisle
- A walking community, by Peggy Berg
- Goin’ Coastal, a great catch, by Brent Schnee
- How to choose a contractor, by Phillip Pettis

Kindergarten at Morningside Presbyterian

From Morningside Presbyterian Preschool the following news:
We are proud to announce registration is open for our Kindergarten Class! Beginning in the fall of 2012, we will add a half-day Kindergarten class as an expansion of our Preschool program. Our kindergarten class is a dynamic half-day program designed to use child centered learning which encourages creativity, fun and academic success. The comprehensive curriculum prepares children for first grade by addressing the whole child — in areas of social, academic and physical growth. Kindergartners will enjoy several enrichment opportunities each week. Watch for more information to come about this exciting new program. If you have any questions, please call Sarah Tomaka at 404/685-8758 or email her at mpp@morningsidepc.org.

APS redistricting: Letter from VHCA to Superintendent Davis

Letter from the VHCA to Superintendent Davis

March 20, 2012

Dear Superintendent Davis,

We appreciate the difficult task you face. Our neighborhood schools are the foundation of our communities. Our schools are the reason people move into our neighborhood. Our schools are the place where parents meet one another and where a sense of community is formed. We respectfully provide the following thoughts and feedback as you try to save money and reallocate funds to further the education of our children.

We support the cluster model. This model allows neighborhoods to come together, rally around, and invest in our schools.

We support the expansion of SPARK and Mary Lin. These schools are highly successful. We believe expanding them to accommodate our growing communities makes sense.

We strongly urge you to slow down this process. There are many decisions that can be made in April and implemented this fall. But some choices within the Grady Cluster, such as how to add middle school capacity, do not have a clear answer and justify further research and examination.  On those issues, we ask that you slow down the process and partner with us and the surrounding communities to create long term solutions for our cluster.

Additional middle school capacity for the Grady Cluster should be as centrally located as possible.  A central location saves money on transportation and incentivizes community and parent involvement.  For that reason, sites like Inman Middle School and the David T. Howard school are better long-term candidates than those on the perimeter of the cluster. They both deserve serious consideration and thoughtful examination.

While that occurs, we strongly support using Inman Middle as a short-term solution; the school, teachers, and administration are familiar and well-respected.

We request an appropriate allocation of SPLOST funding for our cluster. Families in the Grady Cluster are fully invested in the Atlanta Public Schools. We have some of the best performing schools in the system, and their success attracts more families into our neighborhoods and schools. We ask that you invest in the Grady Cluster. Expand SPARK, expand Mary Lin, and address our middle and high school capacity, and in turn we will continue to invest in APS and help make our schools great!

Finally, we ask that you post APS’ new enrollment projections for the new Grady Cluster. The plan you shared with the district gives us a high-level understanding of how the zones will change. We are enthusiastic about your plan to put an end to administrative transfers. Unfortunately, without enrollment projections that include an estimate of how limiting administrative transfers impacts these numbers, we will not have a full and meaningful understanding of the proposed plan.

Thank you for your efforts in this process and for your consideration of the above requests.

Sincerely,

Virginia Highland Civic Association

3/13 VHCA meeting re: school redistricting - discuss APS maps

The VHCA is hosting a School Redistricting Meeting to discuss the maps proposed by Superintendent Davis.

We will:

The meeting will be held at the Virginia Highland Church on Tuesday, March 13 at 7p.m. in the meeting room. You can access the room through the entrance on Ponce de Leon Place.  Please join us.

Nicole Foerschler Horn

The 12/19 NPU “F” Meeting

This meeting at 7 p.m. at the Hillside School (enter from Monroe Drive or Courtenay Drive) will feature a report from Loca Luna in Amsterdam Walk as to plans for addressing the many complaints from residents and businesses of the Amsterdam Avenue/Monroe Drive area as to noise, traffic, parking problems , etc.

The other report will be about the current school redistricting controversy presented by our own Abby Martin of the Council on Neighborhood Schools (CINS) and Cynthia and Jim Brown from the North Atlanta Parents of Public Schools (NAPPS). If the Browns are as fervent about public schools as Abby is – this should be a great report session.

What the VHCA is asking of Atlanta Public Schools

Before you read the civic association’s official statement about this schools issue – here are some links that will help you to understand some of the information.

The “LISTSERV” is where you should go with questions.

Today, the Board of the VHCA sent a letter to the school board, superintendent, and demographers, as follows:

“The Virginia Highland Civic Association is committed to neighborhood schools, which play a key role in building a cohesive, strong and civic-minded community. We recognize that there are capacity and underutilization issues across Atlanta Public Schools (APS), which Superintendent Erroll Davis is attempting to solve through these four options. But the timeline, methodology, and current options are seriously flawed. We are further concerned that solutions to problems with which we are wrestling today, will have long term implications for our community that are not being considered. We seek a creative and collaborative solution that respects our neighborhoods and promotes the education and well-being of our children. To that end, we ask APS to:

Slow down the process and increase the level of transparency and inclusion. The speed of this process is an issue in itself. It’s a “rush-to-judgment” that alarms parents and makes thoughtful deliberation impossible. Unlike when SPARK was created to ease Morningside’s overcrowding, which had reached crisis proportions, this redistricting impacts every child within APS and, in the vast majority of cases, changes will not address crisis level problems. Given this, we agree with Inman Park’s call for a slower more deliberative process that, “would allow our communities to work together to find a common solution that benefits all children.” We echo the call to use the Local School Councils (LSC) to achieve the following:

  • Combine our SRT’s Local School Councils with the initial School Reform Team-3 (SRT-3) Focus Group to create a single task force charged with ensuring all community and stakeholder proposals are heard and included in the rezoning process.
  • Dispatch this task force, under LSC bylaws, to engage appropriately with APS, demographers, and the Atlanta Board of Education (ABOE) to arrive at one to two new SRT-3 rezoning proposals to submit to demographers, APS, and the ABOE for actual rezoning consideration.
  • Use this task force, under Local School Council bylaws, to build community trust through constructive parent and community stakeholder engagement across neighborhoods. Ensure that all voices and options relevant to this SRT and high school cluster are shared and clearly communicated throughout the process – from the demographic analysis to Superintendent Davis’ recommendation to final ABOE decisions.

If there are tough choices to be made, citizens need to know that all reasonable options have been heard and explored. But we can only do this if the process is fair, transparent, and inclusive.

Share all of the data being used to make decisions.  It is impossible to evaluate the data’s accuracy or to review all the underlying assumptions without making the data available. The absence of familiarity with neighborhood basics (i.e. knowing what streets are in what communities) and recommendations that don’t meet known state standards do not inspire confidence in observers. For example:

  • The current SPARK/Hope-Hill combination, as proposed in Option 3 and 4, does not address capacity issues. SPARK/Hope-Hill K-2 at Hope-Hill can only use 21 out of 28 classrooms because current classroom dimensions do not meet state standards.
  • SPARK/Hope-Hill K-2 at SPARK would immediately be over capacity, and this does not include the potential of additional students arriving from the Intown Academy.

Honor Communities. APS stated that retaining community and not splitting neighborhoods was a driving objective. We strongly agree with it; research indicates that community plays a very important role in the success and stability of a child. The neighborhoods who currently attend these schools are a community; this includes Midtown, Poncey-Highland, Candler Park, Inman Park, Lake Claire, and Morningside. Morningside and Virginia-Highland have been indistinguishable to most citizens – including your demographers, who didn’t know their boundaries – for many decades.

The current process incentivizes neighborhoods to pick a choice that benefits them at cost to their neighbors’ wishes; it pits neighborhoods against one another. For this reason, the VHCA rejects all of the options being proposed. 

Keep and Promote Walkable Neighborhood Schools. As much as possible, keep our schools within a walkable distance from our homes. Walkable schools contribute to a quality education by reducing absenteeism and increasing parental involvement. They also decrease costs by streamlining and simplifying transportation.

Several of the options presented place Springdale Park and Morningside children miles away from their homes – in the case of Morningside – many miles away. This is counter to APS’ primary goal – the promotion of quality education.

Expand Springdale Park and Mary Lin’s capacity as rapidly as possible. The VHCA supports the implementation of solutions that will address current, pressing problems and speak to the concerns of parents. SPARK is currently almost 100 students over capacity for a building that was only opened two years ago. When the parking lot property was purchased, provisions were made to use this area for future expansion; furthermore, property exists adjacent to and in close proximity to the school may be available for purchase. We understand from APS Board Members that SPLOST funding is available to start building immediately in the northern end of the property. Under any scenario, the need for increased space at both schools is clear; the time for that expansion isnow.

Ensure that all students live “in the zone”. There are inevitably some students at every school who do not live in the community. The numbers may be small and when space was not at a premium, it wasn’t an issue, but now it is. An audit represents a good-faith effort that APS isaddressing internal admissions processes while addressing space issues.

In closing, for decades our citizens have advocated for and supported all public schools, even in times when the very existence of their neighborhoods was threatened by highway construction and dwindling populations. These communities – like all those in this city – deserve a fair, informed and deliberative voice in future decisions on educational topics. Such approaches are the right of every neighborhood. We are capable of considering difficult decisions that are the result of a fair, transparent and inclusive process; our disappointment in and resistance to anything less than that will be unending.

We look forward to collaborating with the surrounding neighborhoods and APS in the development of a solution to our capacity issues.

Sincerely,

The Board of Directors of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association”

Voice – Winter 2008-9

Download PDF here
Published November 2008

- 14th annual Tour of Homes
- President’s Corner
- Safety Update
- The Bus Stop, news from schools
- VHCA attemps to purchase former library lots, by Pamela Papner
- More delays for Phase II of VaHi streetscape improvements, by John Becker
- New elementary school to open in August 2009
- Neighborhood commercial (NC) zoning initiative gains momentum by John Peak and Pamela Papner
- VHCA 2008-2009 membership Q&A
- Street smart by Drew Baughman
- History of Virginia-Highland, Part I
- Buy a brick in the new VaHi park

Voice – Winter 2007-8

Download PDF here
- Phase II Streetscape plans finalized
- President’s Corner
- 2007 Tour of Homes recap
- Area homes included on tour of kitchens
- Zipcar comes to VaHi
- VaHi Safety Team report
- Neighborhood preservation initiative gains steam
- Trees Atlanta visits VaHi
- The Bus Stop: school news
- Col. Mustard reviews La Tavola
- Intown cycling: family style
- Orme Park master plan takes shape, by Jack White

Voice – Summer/Fall 2005



Download as PDF (4.1 MB)
- President’s Address, by Kevin Cronin: Summerfest success
- Atlanta Development Authority (ADA) announces BeltLine transit panel
- Virginia-Highland Historic District listed in National Register, by John Craft
- About Virginia-Highland Historic District, from the Georgia Dept. of Human Resources
- Highland Hoer: Gardens and parks around the neighborhood, by John Wolfinger
- Renovation of the Piedmont Park Active Oval begins
- VHCA Board opposes school rezoning, by Chip Gallagher
- Take steps to protect your family — and your computer, by John Stanford
- City begins online water/sewer bill payments
- Be a neighbor: sponsor and win (donate for Tour of Homes)

Voice – Spring 2005


Download as PDF (5.4 MB)

- President’s Address, by Keving Cronin: preparing for Summerfest
- Summerfest 2005 needs you!
- Volunteer in our green spaces, by John Wolfinger
- Our survey says, by Chip Gallagher (results of community survey)
- Summer sizzles at Zoo Atlanta, by Helen Grebe
- Summerfest twenty years ago, by Tinka Green
- Strong academics and achievements at Inman Middle School
- 2005 state legislative actions
- Visit Piedmont Park for two new activities (Saturday safari for kids, Historic tours)
- Gear up for National Bike Month, by Mike Goodman
- Home Tour builds on 2004 success
- The Green Market at Piedmont Park returns
- School rezoning in our future? by Chip Gallagher
- If you love ‘em, leash ‘em by Officer W.J. Butcher
-

Voice – Fall 1995


Download PDF (2.3 MB)

- Summerfest ’95
- President’s Corner: city Zoning board did not issue exceptions to Cartel Properties to build a 27,000 ft2, 2000-patron restaurant/entertainment complex, the largest in the city, on the site of the Colgate Mattress warehouse at 712 Ponce de Leon Place. Access was only via 2-lane Ponce Place and parking would be all-valet with only 3 spaces on-site.
- Tips from the trade (review of Kliphph Where? clothing store)
- John Howell Park Project: playground is finished! Outwrite Bookstore donates $3000 earned from Greg Louganis book signing event.
- Tree news: new tree ordinance protecting trees takes effect
- School roundup
- Finally, an intown farmer’s market
- Environmental potpourri
- Col. Mustard reviews St. Charles Deli
- Green with energy (weatherization tips), by Sarah Tomaka
- Summerfest 1995 photos (2 pages)

Voice – Winter 1994

Download PDF (3.8 MB)

- Board members each answer 6 interview questions (J.D. Christy, Debbie Skopczynski, Winnie Currie, Tom Austin, Bruce Taylor, Arnold Gross, Amy Waterman, Steve Jaggers, Mary Jo Peed, Melanie Davenport, Paul Concannon)
- Everything you wanted to know about zoning but were afraid to ask, by Stephen Jagger and Debbie Skopczynski
- President’s Corner, by J.D. Christy
- Annual meeting seats new board, by Beth Marks
- Photos from annual meeting
- Bike Stuff
- Environmental potpourri, by Nan Hunter
- Col. Mustard reviews Camille’s
- Happy (1st) birthday, Virginia-Highland Business Association
- Art supports A.I.D.S., by Shelley Scher
- Local group (CAUTION) makes a difference, by Shelley Scher
- School news
- Tips from the trade: Review of The Common Pond, which sold environmentally friendly products
- John Howell Park project, by Tinka Green
- Greening up for the gold, by Stephanie Coffin, co-chair Parks
- Letters of thanks from recipients of VHCA grants

Voice – Winter 1993

Download PDF (2.4 MB)

- the fate of Summerfest will be decided at the December VHCA meeting: Should we enlarge it, make it smaller? Should we move it from John Howell Park?
- Meet your new board (bios of all board members)
- Having a bad hair day? (Review of VaHi hari salons), by Deborah Cox
- Recycle today, by Nan Hunter
- “B.A.T.”, bicycle quiz by Mike Goodman
- John Howell Park Project (update) by Jerry Bright
- School news
- Shop for a good cause, Window to the World, Mennonite church shop opens

Voice – Winter 1992

Download PDF (2.5 MB)


- VHCA amends its bylaws
- Parking survey opinion
- Planning Summerfest ’93
- Get “street smart” about safe bicycling
- Officially speaking: Handgun control, by Mayor Maynard Jackson
- Recycle today: save your “waste”, by Nan Hunter
- Home sweet Virginia-Highland home: portrait of longtime residents, by Jeni Evans
- John Howell Park renovation plans still under review, by Jerry Bright
- Col. Mustard reviews Neighbors Pub
- You can HELP! (fight crime), by Joyce Gross
- Neighborhood profile: Inman Middle School, by Betty Wells and Joan Walters
- Neighbors join to protect our streets: how to get off-duty police patrol coverage for your block, by Yvette Weatherly
- Crime statistics
- Personal safety tips from Pro-Tech Security Systems
- Learn about composting
- Traffic islands get make-over by Kathy Couch
- Parking survey

Voice – Fall 1992


Download PDF (1.6 MB)

- Annual meeting brings BIG crowd
- The PATHway for bicycling
- Ponce Task Force has new plan
- School report by Joe Martin, Atlanta School Board
- Recycle today, you can make the difference, by Nan Hunter
- Summerfest ’92 a success! by Beth Marks
- What are we doing to our parks? by David Robertson
- Col. Mustard reviews Everybody’s Restaurant
- Ponce property under discussion (disposal of 6 lots facing Ponce between Barnett and Bonaventure), by Jerry Bright
- Profile of Morningside school, by Mary Joe Peed
- Parks committee needs flower power, by Kathy Couch
- VHCA gets new phone service, by Nyna Gentry
- Murphy’s restaurant update
- Crime statistics

Voice – Summer 1992

Download PDF (2.4 MB)

- Letter to the editor from Douglas W. Jones, president of the Ponce de Leon Corridor Association, urging action to oppose Grady Hospital from expanding onto Ponce
- Rep rap, by Rep. Jim Martin
- Reduce, reuse and recycle: participating streets, by Nan Hunter
- New parking committee comes to life, by Elmo Colburn
- Col. Mustard review of Mid City Fish
- Update on Murphy’s move, by Jeni Evans
- Ponce Task Force focuses on reducing risk to investors, by Jett Marks, VaHi rep to PTF
- Piedmont Park Conservancy by city councilmember Mary Davis
- John Howell Park, by Jerry Bright
- Plan to save your life in case of fire, by Ken Lavine
- School update
- Crime graphs and statistics
- Composting comes home, by Nan Hunter
- Summerfest ’92
- Danny’s Run 5K and fun run

Voice – Spring 1992


Download PDF (2.5 MB)

- Atkins Park traces its past, by Tinka Green
- Murphy’s Law #92: more parking. Finding parking for Murphy’s new location at Virginia and Todd. By Jeni Evans
- Rep rap: Easy access to guns is killing us, by David Scott, State Senator
- Heart Strings: volunteers needed for Atlanta’s largest AIDS fundraiser
- A tale of two neighbors and a wild boar, Wild Boar beer at George’s, by Yvette Weatherly
- Making music in VaHi, a profile of Michael Moore (Atlanta Symphony Orchestra) and Paula Peace-Moore by Alison Nelson
- The zoning and variance review process, by Ed Neal and Nyna Gentry
- Finally, Virginia-Highlanders can build snowmen (photos)
- Ponce Task Force update
- Many residents perturbed over parking, by Vicky Favorite
- Schools update
- Recycling: we need more VaHi curbside recyclers in ’92, by Nan Hunter

Voice – Fall 1991

Download PDF (2.8 MB)

- The taming of Piedmont Park – traffic and illegal activity around perimeter of park
- Piedmont Park’s combined sewer overflow controversy – the anatomy of a setback, by I. E. Saporta, architect
- Letter to the editor by Ruthie and Tom Penn-David in cautious support of Summerfest (and not “Drunkfest”)
- A day in the life of Orme Park, by Vicky Favorite and Yvonne Weatherly
- Summerfest opinion – residents and businesses speak out
- Adopted highway “Ponce” needs your help
- Moving right along with (John Howell Park) plans, by Jerry Bright
- Schools update
- What a weekend! Summerfest ’91. Over $2100 raised!
- Doing your share: recycling is so easy in VaHi, by Nan Hunter
- Carefree vacations, by Maggie Baron
- Library forced to reduce hours, services, by Kathy Couch
- The new YWCA offers relief, renewal, by Vicky Favorite
- Report to taxpayers on financial issues affecting the Atlanta Public Schools, by Joseph G. Martin, Jr., president
- Morningside PTA fundraiser has something for everyone, by Ginny Connelly
- Home Alone: Security for children with working parents, by Ken Lavine
- Better bicycling

Voice – Spring 1991

Download PDF(part 1, pages 1–10, 6.4 MB)
Download PDF (part 2, pages 11–20, 5.0 MB)

In part one:
- A VaHi pioneer (Richard C. Todd) and his legacy to this neighborhood, by Jeni Evans
- Franklin Garrett speaks at March meeting. He will be presenting a history of the Virginia-Highland neighborhood.
- Being a security-conscious neighbor, by Ken Lavine, VHCA public safety co-chair
- Grady students speak out: Essays by Grady 9th and 10th graders on homelessness, war and other current issues
- The VOICE – ten years ago, by Beth Marks
- Variances and how to get one, by Steve Jagger
- Inman Middle School, by Ellen England and Janice Giddens
- New playhouse at library
- Good neighbor policy, by Kathy Couch
- St. Patrick’s Day 5K race, by Doug Sligh
- About the Ponce de Leon Task Force survey

In part two:
- Ponce de Leon Task Force survey form
- Inman wants more tutors
- CINS awards mini-grants to area teachers, by Laurie Del Martin
- Grady High School news, by Laurie Del Martin
- Help support CINS when you get your emmision test
- Top sellers at Morningside Elementary gift wrap sale
- And the pick-up goes on…recycling in 1991! By Nan Hunter
- Help for the Highland homeowner, by Virginia Temple
- Be on the lookout for the “ACORN” man!

Voice – Winter 1990

Download PDF (3.1 MB)

- Neighbor profile: Foot patrolman Officer Chris Clark, by Beth Marks
- Ponce de Leon task force to speak at December meeting
- Historic preservation presentation update, by Burn Sears
- Front porch living, by Yvette Weatherly
- Holiday entertaining like a pro, by Shelley Pedersen, director of catering at Murphy’s
- Historic designation – what is means to you
- John Howell Park update (by Jerry Bright) and events (by the L.A.M.P. project)
- Historic designation survey form
- Outline of City zoning preservation ordinance
- Council of Intown Neighborhoods and Schools (CINS), by Barbara Van Dyke
- Grady students to author VOICE articles
- Morningside Elementary volunteers
- Inman needs tutors too
- Recycling, it’s habit forming, by Nan Hunter
- The road that was almost built (Georgia 400/I-485), by Warren Pritchard with Charles Longley
- Building permits, by Steve Jagger
- Ponce de Leon Task Force gains momentum in reaching for a consensus
- Interview with Chief Eldrin Bell, by V. Evans
- Personal safety (reprinted from ProTech Security Systems newsletter)

Voice – Summer 1990

Download PDF (2.7 MB)

- Meet with the Police about forming a PAC (Partnership against Crime)
- Neighbor profile: Joyce Gross, VHCAA head of public safety
- The VOICE says fight crime
- VOICE mission statement
- Summerfest 1990
- Preservation update, by Nina Gentry
- Council of Intown Neighbors and Schools (CINS), by Barbara Van Dyke
- Ponce de Leon taskforce, by Susan Carroll
- VaHi’s annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K Road Race
- The Voice wants to announce the results of your efforts to thwart crime (streets with neighborhood watches)
-Things are picking up: the sequel (recycling), by Nan Hunter
- VaHi color: Mark Draper and Mother’s Tire Company, by Warren Pritchard
- The YWCA comes to VaHi
- What VaHi merchants are doing to deter crime

Voice – Spring 1990

- Preservationists Karin Huebner (Urban Design Atlanta) and Ann Farrisee (Atlanta Preservation Center) to speak March 7th
- Profile of Nyna Gentry, chairman VHCA Preservation Committee and St. Charles Greenwood rep
- The VOICE says “Preservation”
- VaHi: Atlanta’s bungalow neighborhood, by Tim Crimmins
- More of everything at the new VaHi library, by Kathy Couch
- Support your neighborhood schools – CINS, by Barbara Van Dyke
- John Howell Park, by Jerry Bright: sidewalk replacement
- VaHi’s annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K Road Race
- Things are picking up (recycling), by Nan Hunter
- Volleyball, heads up!
- A letter from Rep. Jim Martin (on privacy, abortion, state budget)
- No parking? By Burn Sears
- Crime stats for VaHi (beat 610)

Download PDF (2.1 MB)